The Karnataka High Court has described as distressing the fact that 30,000 BE students have failed in their semester examinations this year. The court advised the students that they should not join the technical course due to peer pressure or to please their parents, but do so only if they have an aptitude for it.

In its verdict, while setting aside a single judge Bench’s direction to Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) to conduct supplementary examination for students who have failed in semester examination, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna said: “We wish to remind the students that to study a technical course, they must have the requisite aptitude.”

“Many times lack of aptitude for a course of study or admission to a course against the wishes of the student concerned may make him uninterested and it may be another reason for lack of attendance,” the court said. It advised the parents to ensure that their wards have the requisite aptitude to take up a technical course. The Bench went on to say that it can only articulate its concern in the hope that it will not fall on deaf ears.

Attendance issue

The Bench expressed concern over the “extremely burdensome, perhaps illogical”, stipulation of attendance, which ordains that lack of attendance in one subject will lead to disqualification for the entire semester and thereby may result in wasting of one valuable year.

The Bench said that it did not expect VTU to remain impervious to and unperturbed by failure of large number of BE students to pass semester examination. “We would have expected VTU to act in the spirit of loco tutoris if not in loco parentis to reach out to their students and redress or remedy their problems…”

The Bench observed that failure of a large number of students to pass in all examinations may be attributed to the fact that the BE course, which used to be of five-year duration has now been reduced to four. Or, it could be because of drop in quality of instruction in VTU; or on account of lack of care by the faculty of VTU. The Bench advised VTU to ensure that coaching in its affiliated colleges is of high quality and the problems of the students are redressed. The Division Bench observed that there are a plethora of engineering colleges in Karnataka and many lack basic infrastructure. Steps should be taken to ensure that engineering colleges have good teachers to impart quality education. Besides that, authorities concerned must ensure that teachers are also continuously assessed. The court also took note of the fact that the All-India Council for Technical Education, in certain cases, grants or continues affiliation to colleges lacking facilities, and students admitted to such institutions would suffer and this may be a contributing factor for their inability to clear the semester examination.